Are you the gatekeeper? Well, are you?
Lately, I’ve been looking back at a piece of email that was sent to me a couple of years ago. Essentially, it was a reader who had come across my then-five-year-old piece on microfilm, also known as microfiche.
He was upset. He had taken to questioning whether it was right for me to say that using a microfiche machine was difficult to use, or clunky.
And when I pointed out that I only said it was clunky compared to a smartphone, a more common way that people scroll through and zoom into images, he criticized the smartphone as dumbed down. Then I pointed out something I’ve mentioned many times but doesn’t always get through to more experienced users: I’m writing for regular people, not experts.
That was when he started to jab harder. He leaned into something I wrote in the piece noting that most researchers use the internet, suggesting that what I really meant was databases. (I didn’t.)
He then asked: “If you really aren’t an expert on this, why are you fighting me when I say microfilm viewers aren’t intuitive?”
Finally, he tried attacking my age, suggesting that I had been born in the ’90s and had not experienced technology before a smartphone (neither point is true), and that I didn’t understand what I was saying.
I responded simply, then ended the thread: “Your elitism is showing.” He replied again, but I left the thread by that point. I had nothing else to say.